Faith is the expecting the word of God to do what the word says, and depending upon that word to do what the word says.
When this is clearly discerned, it is perfectly easy to see how it is that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Since the word of God is imbued with creative power, and so is able to produce in very substance the thing which that word speaks; and since faith is the expectation that the word itself will do what the word says, and depending on "the word only" to do what that word says, it is plain enough that faith is the substance of things hoped for.
Since the word of God is in itself creative, and so is able to produce and cause to appear what otherwise would never exist nor be seen; and since faith is the expecting the word of God only to do just that thing, and depending upon "the word only" to do it, it is plain enough that faith is "the evidence of things not seen."
Thus it is that "through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."
He who exercises faith knows that the word of God is creative, and that so it is able to produce the thing spoken. Therefore, he can understand, not guess, that the worlds were produced, were caused to exist, by the word of God.
He who exercises faith can understand that though before the word of God was spoken, neither the things which are now seen nor the substances of which those things are composed, anywhere appeared, simply because they did not exist; yet when that word was spoken, the worlds were, simply because that word itself caused them to exist.
This is the difference between the word of God and the word of man. Man may speak; but there is no power in his words to perform the thing spoken: if the thing is to be accomplished which he has spoken, the man must do something in addition to speaking the word—he must make good his word.
Not so the word of God.
When God speaks, the thing is. And it is simply because he has spoken. It accomplishes that which he was pleased to speak. It is not necessary that the Lord , as man, must do something in addition to the word spoken. He needs not to make his word good: it is good. He speaks "the word only," and the thing is accomplished.
And so it is written: "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God, which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe"—in you that exercise faith. 1 Thess. 2:13.
This also is how it is that it is "impossible for God to lie." It is not impossible for God to lie only because he will not, but also because he can not. And he can not lie, just because he can not: it is not possible. And it is impossible, because when he speaks, the creative energy is in the word spoken; so that "the word only" causes the thing to be so.
Man may speak a word, and it not be so. Thus man can lie; for to speak what is not so, is to lie. And man can lie, can speak what is not so, because there is no power in his word itself to cause the thing to be. With God this is impossible; he can not lie; for "he spake, and it was;" he speaks, and it is so.
This is also how it is that when the word of God is spoken for a certain time, as in a prophecy for hundreds of years to come, when that time actually has arrived, that word is fulfilled. And it is then fulfilled, not because, apart from the word, God does something to fulfill it; but because the word was spoken for that time, and in it is the creative energy which causes the word at that time to produce the thing spoken.
This is how it was that if the children had not cried, "Hosanna to the Son of David," the stones would have immediately cried out; and this is how it was that when the third day had come, it was "impossible" that He should be any longer held of death.
O, the word of God is divine! In it is creative energy. It is "living and powerful." The word of God is self-fulfilling; and to trust it and depend upon it as such, that is to exercise faith. "Hast thou faith?"